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Regulating Green House Gases Could Soon be a Reality

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Photo by Al Pavangkanan via Flickr
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An estimated 5,400 deaths a year in Southern California are attributed to environmental factors and air pollution, but little alarm over that fact has been raised. Today, that changes.

It was two years ago when the Supreme Court ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency had to determine if greenhouse gases harm the environment and the health of the public. If it didn't, they would have to explain why. Most all EPA scientists then found greenhouse gases were harmful, but the Bush Administration "suppressed the finding and took no action," according to the New York Times.

However, today marked a new turn in those findings, which were formally released today. "This finding confirms that greenhouse gas pollution is a serious problem now and for future generations," EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said in a statement about the report, which says "in both magnitude and probability, climate change is an enormous problem. The greenhouse gases that are responsible for it endanger public health and welfare within the meaning of the Clean Air Act."

"After years of inexcusable neglect under the Bush Administration, the EPA has taken the first concrete step toward curbing global warming by making a preliminary determination that greenhouse gases endanger public health or welfare." said California Attorney General Jerry Brown, who has sued the federal government a few times including the aforementioned Supreme Court case.

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There were no specifics in today's announcement regarding timelines or actions as 60 day comment period is needed first. The gases in the finding include carbon dioxide, the proposed ruling will cover methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride.